Manhunt underway for stabbing suspect as court hears other domestic violence cases
As police searched Monday for a Pawcatuck man accused of inflicting life-threatening stab wounds on his domestic partner, other serious cases of intimate partner violence were on the docket in New London Superior Court.
Domestic violence cases account for 35 percent of the cases on the criminal court docket in Connecticut, according to Katherine Verano, executive director of Safe Futures in New London. Intimate partner violence, between current and former spouses and dating partners and individuals who share a child accounts for 76.5 percent of cases and has risen steadily since 2013, according to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Police were engaged in a manhunt Monday afternoon for Carlton T. Henderson, 44, of 77 Mechanic St., Apt. 1, Pawcatuck, who they say drove from the scene Saturday morning as officers arrived at the residence after receiving a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance. He remained at large Monday night.
The woman was airlifted from Westerly Hospital to Yale-New Haven Hospital due to the severity of her stab wounds, according to police, and the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad was called in to assist in the investigation. On Facebook, Henderson's sister urged him to turn himself in, and friends of the victim started a gofundme page for her family.
It was unclear whether the couple had been involved in previous incidents. Safe Futures, the southeastern Connecticut agency that provides services to victims of domestic violence, was not working with the woman, according to Verano.
Verano said many victims don't seek out services because of the victim blaming that occurs within the judicial system, and that the judicial system doesn't take domestic violence cases, including incidents of strangulation and violation of protective orders, seriously enough.
"Since domestic violence is a public safety issue and impacts the lives our our children, it is time we all work together, not just advocates and law enforcement and some very caring prosecutors," Verano said. "It has to be mandated, all dealing with domestic violence need training, training and more training."
Back at the courthouse, Geffrey B. Slack, 32, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree assault in connection with an alcohol-fueled attack on his longtime partner that took place in March in the same Mechanic Street neighborhood as Saturday's stabbing. Police said Slack stomped on the woman's chest while wearing workboots. She suffered five broken ribs and a lung injury that required emergency surgery, according to court documents.
Substance abuse often is factor in domestic violence cases. Slack, who has been incarcerated since April, was released to the Lebanon Pines treatment center following his guilty plea Monday.
In addition to the domestic violence charges, Slack also has two pending charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Under an agreement worked out between attorney M. Fred DeCaprio and prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman, Slack could be sentenced to time served to up to five years in prison, depending on his performance at a substance abuse treatment program.
Also on Monday's court docket was the matter of Jimmy Lee Stevenson Jr., 41, who is accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's New London home on Oct. 22, jumping on her while she was asleep, holding her down and covering her mouth. The woman said that even though she had broken off their relationship four to five weeks earlier, Stevenson yelled at her for texting other men, slammed her phone into the wall and punched a hole in the wall.
When police officer Anthony Nolan arrived at the scene, he said Stevenson told him everything was OK and he was "just trying to work it out" with his girlfriend, according to a police report. Nolan said that out of the corner of his eye, he could see the woman, who had a swollen upper lip, shaking her head as if saying no.
Stevenson is charged with home invasion, second-degree strangulation, third-degree assault, violation of a protective order, second-degree criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and sixth-degree larceny.
Police said there was an existing protective order at the time of the alleged home invasion. The order was also in place on Feb. 27, the day Stevenson was arrested on the charge of second-degree harassment. In that incident, he allegedly sent the woman a message on Facebook that said, "Just want you to know I'm on my way to your house. I plan on going to jail for a long time."
Since Oct. 22, he has been incarcerated at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center, where he is being held in lieu of $150,000. He's represented by attorney M. Fred DeCaprio and is due back in court on Dec. 23.
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